NHS To Shut Down Personal Health Record Service

HealthSpace, the NHS' electronic personal records service, will be shut down by March 2013.

The organiser, which allows patients and their clinicians to securely access, record and manage personal health data, is too complicated to succeed, said the Department of Health's national clinical director for informatics Dr. Charles Gutteridge.

"It is too difficult to make an account; it is too difficult to log on; it is just too difficult", Gutteridge said at the Westminster Health Forum in London.

In addition to allowing each access to care records and test results, HealthSpace was designed to facilitate the booking of doctors' appointments and the renewal of prescriptions. But in spite of its benefits, the service has been plagued by low usership.

A 2008 survey found that 60 per cent of patients at a walk-in centre did not want a HealthSpace account. Figures revealed under a Freedom of Information Act request revealed that out of more than 250,000 records created, only 812 people had activated advanced HealthSpace accounts.

But Gutteridge is not giving up on the concept of healthcare IT. The next step is to design and build a healthcare portal that patients can easily access their care records.